Welcome Charlie VictorUPDATE: Tori says, “We went with Charlie! Except for my brother, no one has mentioned the NATO alphabet. Thanks to everyone for giving us the confidence to use our favorite name.”

Tori writes:

Our son will be here in a few weeks, and we cannot agree on a name.

I’m Victoria, named for my dad, Victor. My dad was named for his dad. As much as I love this tradition in some ways, my boyfriend and I agree that Victor will be our son’s middle name.

The problem is that Victor doesn’t sound great with some first names we talked about: Oliver, Parker, Archer.

His last name will sound like Angle. (Spelled with an E.)

Other names we’ve ruled out include:

  • Beau – gets run together, sounds like his name is Bengal, even worse if he’s listed as B. Angle. (I’m originally from Cincinnati, so the football team makes it extra weird.) Probably rules out other B names, but this one most of all.
  • Charlie – because Charlie and Victor are in the NATO alphabet! We were all in on Charlie until my brother-in-law joked about naming our next kid Alfa Bravo …
  • Jack – we just know too many
  • Atlas – just seems like too much name, but I like the sound

Names we are left with right now:

  • Jonah – but my boyfriend is worried this is too different
  • Cole – don’t think I like the way it runs into Angle, even though it’s not Beau
  • Jude – same as Cole
  • Arlo – just not quite right

Everything feels just kind of okay when we say it – nothing really has that spark. Can you help?

Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new son!

It can be hard to go from these-names-are-perfectly-fine to Yes! THIS is The Name we want to repeat thousands of times for the rest of our natural lives, not counting the countless times we’ll enter it on official forms/label something – anything – EVERYTHING – with/hear others call and repeat, too, including, someday, maybe even a partner and children of our child’s own.

Mind blowing, right?

The flip side of this is that it’s worth giving yourself grace.

Warming up to a name can take a little bit of time, and that’s okay – even if it happens after your child is in your arms.

I’m trying to describe the type of names on your shortlist. Current traditionals, maybe, with a casual-cozy vibe? There’s Old Testament Jonah and traditional nickname Charlie. They sound like brothers, without being too matched. (I think I might call them homespun, like this list.) We can work with that!

So let’s start by evaluating your current list, and I’ll rank them from least promising to best fits.



I agree with you on these. I think it’s the repeating vowel sound plus a strong L in both the first and last names that conflicts with your son’s surname. While it can work, it’s a definite style statement and I can understand why it sounds off.


Alright, as a non-football person, I’m laughing a little at Beau sounds-like-Angle becoming “bengal.” Because I would never have made the connection … but lots of people could, and if those people are your people? Yeah. I can see this is a no. I do think it’s specific to Beau, though – other B names strike me as far less problematic.


Then again, maybe it is every short first name? Because I don’t love Jude or Cole with your surname, either.


Oh wait, it’s not every short first name because I think Jack sounds perfect. But if you feel like it’s saturated in your community/family/friend group, then we’ll move on.


But doesn’t that make Charlie The Most Perfect Name? It’s casual and traditional, just like Jack, but sounds great with your surname and your preferred middle.

Is it a thing that Charlie and Victor are in the NATO alphabet? I’m going to say not really. I’m guessing relatively few people could recite the NATO alphabet off the top of their heads. Even those that can might not immediately make the connection.

And, and, and … while I think middle names matter lots, it’s true that they’re not typically in daily use. If you can ignore this comment, I’d tell you to confidently name your son Charlie.


But if you can’t get over Alfa Bravo Charlie … Victor? Then Jonah is a great choice.

Is it a little different? Maybe by 1990 standards. Chances are you didn’t know a Jonah growing up, save for the one in the story with the whale. But it’s ranked just outside the US Top 100 for the last few years, and has appeared in the US Top 200 since 1999.

It fits with Joshua and Noah and Joseph, too – lots of rock solid names for a son, all Top Ten over the last two decades. If your boyfriend can warm to Jonah, it’s a great name. Bonus: in the NATO alphabet, the J is Juliett.

But maybe none of these really work? Let’s look at some fresh possibilities.



A potential Charlie alternative, Archie sounds good with your last name and is uncommon enough that I doubt you’ll know many – if any. I wonder if you’ve considered this, since you listed Archer above, but it’s definitely not an R ender, so maybe it works?


I do think lots of B names don’t create the “bengal” issue as obviously as Beau does, so I’ll suggest Bennett. I think it’s a good balance between super-traditional Benjamin and more daring Ben- options.


Something about this name sounds just right with your surname. It strikes me as an alternative to Jonah, but a more popular one. (It’s ranked in the US Top 100 since 1996.)


If Jude doesn’t sound quite right, but Jack does, only Jack is too popular, how about Luke? On paper, it’s nearly as common as Jack. But somehow I don’t hear it quite as often, so I wonder if it would work for you? Lucas and Luca are options, too.


The ending S of Atlas makes me wonder if you’d embrace a name with the same sound, but a little more familiar? Plus, the strong M sound of Miles makes this work a little better with your surname.


I’m not sure this is exactly your style, but I love the sound with your last name.


If Miles is my alternative for Atlas, then Theo steps in for Arlo. It’s a touch more traditional, but with that same vibrant O ending.

Overall, I’m still feeling like Charlie Victor LastName should be your son’s name, and I find Jonah an outstanding alternative.

But from my list? I do think Miles has plenty of potential. Traditional and modern, Miles is a brother for Charlie or Jonah, a timeless choice just right for a 2024 baby.

Readers, over to you! What would you suggest for their son’s first name with the middle Victor?

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Charlie Victor Romeo is a 2013 film (as well as a stage play) about famous plane crashes, so that combination in particular might get people’s attention. That said, I agree with others that the NATO alphabet connection can be viewed as a plus, not a minus. And giving your son the legal name Charles would allow him some flexibility if he chooses to go by that later in life.

    I also like the sound of Jules Victor “Angle”. However, Jules Engel was a prominent filmmaker in the 20th century. Not a household name, but he would show up if, say, future prospective employers Google your son’s name.

    If you are open to variations on Victor, that would put options like Oliver, Parker, and Archer back on the table. For example:

    Oliver Vic “Angle”
    Parker Vittorio “Angle”
    Archer Vitto “Angle”

    Victor and Vincent both come from the same Latin root, vincere (“to conquer”). Vincent means “conquering”, and Victor means “conqueror”. So you could consider Vincent or one of its variations:

    Oliver Vincent “Angle”
    Parker Vince “Angle”
    Archer Vin “Angle”
    Parker Vincenzo “Angle”
    Archer Enzo “Angle”

  2. The NATO alphabet link doesn’t bother me and I love Emmy’s suggestion of just replying with “Roger that” if anyone mentioned it!

    What leapt out about Charlie to me right away was that Charlie Angle sounds a lot like Charlie’s Angels. I know that’s an older reference and even with the more recent remakes it probably won’t be something his generation will notice, nor do I think it’s a bad reference at all, so it’s not a concern but just something I noticed right away.

    So many wonderful suggestions! I really love the idea of Jules Victor Angle.